Getting enough sleep is very important to your health. Most adults need at least 8 hours of quality sleep. Some people do find that they can wake up energized even if they sleep only for a few hours. There are also adults who require up to 10 hours of sleep to enable them to feel refreshed.
There have been quite a number of studies on the importance of sleep and the effects of sleep deprivation. Here is a list of some of the benefits of sleep.
1. Keeps you alert in the day and improves your concentration, learning and memory.
2. Improves your ability to make decisions and response to a situation. Lack of sleep can lead to work related or driving accidents and low productivity.
3. Allows your body to conserve energy and at the same time repair tissues and renew the growth of tissues, muscles and bone.
4. Sleep aids in hormone production and is important to avoid hormonal imbalance.
5. Researchers found that sleep improves the immune system and may reduce the risk of certain conditions and diseases such as sores, hypertension, obesity and also cancer.
6. Sleep reduces stress level, moodiness and fatigue and is important to maintain emotional health.
7. Getting enough sleep aids in weight loss.
There are several causes for lack of sleep. The common sleep disorders that cause sleep deprivation are sleep apnea, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, nasal congestion and snoring. Shift work, travel fatigue or jet lag, consuming too much alcohol, and certain medications may also contribute to sleeping problems.
If your sleeping partner tells you that you snore and go through shallow breathing several times during your sleep, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. Another indication that you have sleep apnea is if you are awakened during your sleep with breathing difficulty.
How to Sleep Better – 8 Ways to Get a Good Night Sleep.
1. Find the Root Cause.
You must know the actual cause of your problem to be able to solve it. If it is apnea, what you can do is adjust your sleeping position by sleeping on your side or use a device that will prevent you from sleeping on your back. Other sleeping aids to overcome apnea include using CPAP device or nasal dilator.
2. Lose Weight.
Being overweight or obese is one of the causes of sleeping problems. When you have excess fats especially around your neck, you will put pressure on your airway and block your nasal passage. This is also one of the causes of sleep apnea and snoring.
3. Leave Your Worries outside the Bedroom Door.
Worries and anxieties can cause sleepless nights. You’ll toss and turn in bed because your mind is not at rest. The more your mind goes around showing mental images of what you are worrying about, the more difficult it is to sleep.
Decide not to bring your worries along with you when you enter your bedroom. Before you retire for the day, write down all your concerns in your journal. After you have done it, close your eyes and breathe deeply a few times.The deep breathing exercise will calm your mind.
4. Avoid Bad Vibes Before You Sleep.
You will have difficulty sleeping if you bring along negative related emotions such as anger and hate. One of the best ways to release them is to write a list of the things that you feel grateful for. Do this every night before you go to bed. It changes your focus from the negative to the positive.
Always avoid watching bad news or reading anything unpleasant right before bedtime.
5. Take Melatonin Supplement.
To overcome insomnia caused by night shift work or jet lag, take melatonin supplements. Melatonin is actually a hormone that is secreted naturally by the pineal gland in the brain. But because of the disruption in sleep patterns, the production of melatonin drops.
6. Take Herbal Sleep Aids.
Drinking a warm cup of chamomile tea, lemon balm tea or valerian root tea before you sleep may help fall asleep. These herbs produce a sedative effect and help calm your nerves.
Certain aromatherapy essential oils such as lavender oil, sweet marjoram oil, chamomile and ylang ylang oils are also helpful. To use it, sprinkle the oil on a cotton ball and put underneath your pillow case.
Your can also take an herbal bath or diffuse the oil and inhale it.
7. Use Sleep Hypnosis.
If you suffer from insomnia, listen to a hypnosis recording as you lie down. You will be guided to do breathing and progressive relaxation exercises before receiving positive suggestions that will induce you to sleep.
8. Listen to Deep Relaxation Music.
There are many relaxation music CDs and MP3s that you can listen to help you sleep better. Listening to it will put you in a deep relaxation state and alter your brain waves. A few of them are specifically embedded with positive subliminal messages to help you overcome stress, feel calm, be at peace and sleep soundly.
Sleep deprivation, if prolonged, will not only affect your health but also slow down your brain functions. So, make sure you get enough quality sleep each night.